Racism in health care bill seen by US Commission on Civil Rights

Ed Lasky
The US Commission on Civil Rights is proving a thorn in the side of the Obama administration. First it has problems with Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department dropping of the New Black Panther voter rights intimidation case. Now it sees the House health care bill having provisions that are racially discriminatory.

How? By making overt a preference to award billions of taxpayer dollars and preferential treatment to minority students for scholarships, and favoring medical schools that have a record of sending graduates to areas with inadequate health care services. Jennifer Haberkorn of the Washington Times has an exclusive story:

In a draft of a letter the commission approved Friday, the group raises constitutional questions about giving preferential treatment to minority students for scholarships, and about favoring medical schools and organizations that have a record of sending graduates to areas with inadequate health care services.

"These programs are unlikely to reduce health care disparities among racial and ethic groups," according to the draft letter obtained by The Washington Times. "A growing body of evidence indicates that increasing access to high-quality physicians - whatever their racial or ethnic ancestry - is the best way to mitigate such disparities."

The draft letter also cites testimony from Dr. Amitabh Chandra of Harvard University who said the idea that expanding the number of minority physicians and providing "cultural competence training" will bridge the health status gap is "grounded in hope more than science," according to the draft language.

It cites research from Dr. Chandra that found that improving the quality of health care in the 500 largest minority serving areas would improve minority health care more than the elimination of racial disparities within every provider in the U.S.


The US Commission on Civil Rights is proving a thorn in the side of the Obama administration. First it has problems with Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department dropping of the New Black Panther voter rights intimidation case. Now it sees the House health care bill having provisions that are racially discriminatory.

How? By making overt a preference to award billions of taxpayer dollars and preferential treatment to minority students for scholarships, and favoring medical schools that have a record of sending graduates to areas with inadequate health care services. Jennifer Haberkorn of the Washington Times has an exclusive story:

In a draft of a letter the commission approved Friday, the group raises constitutional questions about giving preferential treatment to minority students for scholarships, and about favoring medical schools and organizations that have a record of sending graduates to areas with inadequate health care services.

"These programs are unlikely to reduce health care disparities among racial and ethic groups," according to the draft letter obtained by The Washington Times. "A growing body of evidence indicates that increasing access to high-quality physicians - whatever their racial or ethnic ancestry - is the best way to mitigate such disparities."

The draft letter also cites testimony from Dr. Amitabh Chandra of Harvard University who said the idea that expanding the number of minority physicians and providing "cultural competence training" will bridge the health status gap is "grounded in hope more than science," according to the draft language.

It cites research from Dr. Chandra that found that improving the quality of health care in the 500 largest minority serving areas would improve minority health care more than the elimination of racial disparities within every provider in the U.S.